Particle Technology

Minnesota is a leader in aerosol research and home to the renowned Particle Technology Laboratory.

Particle technology, in particular aerosol particle technology, refers to the development and refinement of both measurement techniques and governing physical laws needed quantify the size, shape, chemical composition, and transport of small liquid or solid particles (from 1 mm down to 1 nm) in gases (aerosols). The best known aerosol affecting our daily lives is undoubtedly ambient air. Particle technology plays a vital role in developing rigorous measurement techniques to understand the role particles play in global temperature balances (climate change) and in quantifying pollution emission and migration in our atmosphere. Particle technology can be additionally applied in the engineering of beneficial aerosols, including spray technology, gas phase synthesis systems for commodity materials, and aerosol based coating and 3D printing processes. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota is involved in fundamental and applied aerosol particle technology research in a diverse array of applications from processes affecting global climate to new additive manufacturing process design, utilizing experimental, numerical, and theoretical research approaches.

Founded in the 1950s by Kenneth T. Whitby, the Particle Technology Laboratory (PTL) is the first multi-faculty member laboratory devoted to particle and aerosol research in the United States. Over three academic “generations,” the laboratory has been one of the most visible in the aerosol research community worldwide.